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Homelessness duty to refer

Under the Housing Act 1996 (as amended) some public authorities must notify the local authority’s housing advice department of anyone they consider may be homeless or at risk of becoming homeless within 56 days.

The authorities that must do this are:

  • prisons
  • youth offender institutions
  • secure training centres
  • secure colleges
  • youth offending teams
  • probation services (including rehabilitation companies)
  • Jobcentre Plus
  • social services authorities
  • emergency departments
  • urgent treatment centres
  • hospitals providing inpatient care

Before making any referral you must have permission from the individual to send the referral along with their contact information, and have allowed them to identify which authority in England they wish to be referred to.

If you are one of the listed authorities and are working with a client who is homeless or at risk of being homeless, please complete the duty to refer form and upload to the general enquiries online form to refer them to the housing advice team, subject to their consent being received. Once the referral has been received we will make contact to ensure that advice can be offered.

Agencies other than those specified are still able to refer to an authority if they are aware of a person or persons threatened with homelessness within 56 days - or actually homeless - using the duty to refer form.

More information can also be found on the duty to refer homelessness GOV.UK website